The internet can be our friend!
Let's be creative and use whatever we can find in the internet for our German Online Lessons. We work with our own material, Youtube-videos, articles, blogs, music and also apps for our cellphone if it makes sense.
The standard material in almost every German-as-a-foreign-language class today is one of the official course books. And we understand that, some course books are well made and guide the teacher and her/his students safely through the different language levels. In addition, the books also often have exercises, listening material, learning instructions for the teacher and sometimes they are even a bit more modern and even offer augmented reality options.
That's all well and good, but in our opinion there is much more to it. We have two main criticisms: First, the books all take the same approach: that students should get information that they can react to immediately in specific situations.
The approach is not always wrong, but we think it is wrong to teach a student on the first pages just "Hello, I'm ... I'm glad to meet you!" without explaining the logic behind it. The examples in the books often try to be as realistic as possible, but fail to take the student "by the hand" and explain why Germans say something in that particular way. Vocabulary is often thrown at the students and grammar is rarely explained appropriately. In our opinion, this confuses the students more than it helps them. This is why very few students learn on their own, without help from others, with course books.
The second point of criticism relates to the fact that course books are still very old-fashioned or fail to incorporate modern technologies such as the Internet in a meaningful way. This is far too little, especially for online German courses.
For teaching, we want to use the greatest resource mankind has at its disposal: the internet. There are countless apps, sites, videos, audios, books, exercise sites and much more just waiting to be used.
Therefore, we try to make our online German lessons as variable and individual as possible. For example, an A1 student should not have to read an exercise description that tries to tell him what to do in formal B2 German. That makes no sense in German Classes for Beginners.
We want to use course books - as a supplement. But we also want to use Youtube, Quizlet, Google Drive, the video/exercise-series "Nico's Weg" and all the other possibilities that make sense for the individual student. We want to use shadowing - if it makes sense. Because every student learns differently and has different interests. We have to take advantage of this and not try to squeeze the students into a special concept, as is unfortunately still absolutely normal in German schools.
Authentic exam material
We can even use the internet to use authentic exam material. Whether Telc, Gothe Institut or other TestDaF institutes: many provide real exams for all levels. These exams cover all four areas of an official exam: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. They include the necessary tasks as well as the audio files and even the assessment criteria. This is a great way for teachers and students to determine the current language level together and to decide where more work is needed in German lessons.
Speaking is essential!
But why do we end up learning a new language at all? Of course, there are people who simply want to read original texts by historical, German philosophers - perfectly fine! But mostly people learn a new language because they also want to use the language actively... and that usually means they want to speak in that language.
That's why the focus in our lessons should always be on speaking. All the theory is nice to know but if I don't know how to actually use it actively, I don't get much out of it.
You can write or read texts quite well in online lessons, but it's usually not very efficient. It makes much more sense to prepare texts as homework. A classic method can always be that the students read or write a text or watch a video on a certain topic, write down new vocabulary and learn it, and then maybe write a short summary. Optimally, this will lead to students engaging with a new (hopefully interesting) topic, writing down new vocabulary, learning it and using it again in the summary. In the process, they practise the new words and you have a new topic for the new lesson, about which you can then also have an active, verbal conversation. So you can concentrate on speaking in the German lesson. This is what makes online German lessons really effective.
It is similar with new grammar. It's best if the teacher introduces a new topic in the online lesson, explains the basics and the student deals with the topic in more detail as homework and does some exercises on it. Then the next lesson can be used to talk about more questions and then actively use the newly learned grammar in conversation.
Getting to know each other
You can see: There is a lot out there. The question is always, what exactly is there, where do I find it and what makes sense for me and when? And this is where the teacher comes in. We show you how to make the most of the time and money you invest. We create an individual learning plan with you, make suggestions about the number of learning hours you need, find out together what works for you and what doesn't and give you advice about useful material. Of course, we always want to be flexible and make adjustments over time and also include feedback from the students.
Of course, this also means that in the beginning you have to take some time to get to know the students and find out what works for them. But isn't that also a bit of the point of the online German course? To exchange ideas and get to know each other better?